Beijing detects drop in cases linked to new Covid-19 outbreak

By Jesús Centeno

Beijing, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Beijing authorities on Saturday said 22 new Covid-19 had been detected the previous day as experts continue to carry out mass testing in the Chinese capital in the wake of a new coronavirus outbreak at a food market.

Health authorities last week said the outbreak has been brought under control.

The number of cases detected between Friday and Saturday dropped slightly compared to the previous 24-hour period, demonstrating — as chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou had predicted — that the peak of the new outbreak has passed.

There have been 205 coronavirus cases since the new outbreak in the capital was first detected on 11 June.

The nationwide tally for active cases stands at 308, while 6,023 people are being monitored and must observe a precautionary two-week quarantine, according to official data.

Some 2.3 million people have been tested for the virus in Beijing as of Saturday, Zhang Qiang, a member of the city’s disease prevention office told a press conference.

As well as testing restaurant, university and market employees, workers from 36 high-risk industries, such as supermarkets, food deliveries services and shopping centers, will also be examined.

Residents of two Beijing neighborhoods deemed high-risk must also remain at home for a 14-day period, the expert added.

The new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing has been traced to the Xinfadi seafood market, where investigators found samples of the virus surviving on produce, which was kept in “cold and humid” conditions.

The Chinese capital still resembles a ghost town of sorts, with minimal public transportation and many of its streets, restaurants and shopping malls empty.

A number of residents have been taking to social media in recent days to express their concerns about food supplies in supermarkets. Authorities have responded by offering reassurances that supplies will not run out.

Some restrictions on movement in the city remain in place — those living in “risk” areas are not allowed to leave the city and even those who are not are advised to stay put.

Anyone who does seek to leave Beijing must present a health report and a negative Covid-19 test result.

Beijing’s deputy public health director Pang Xuhong on Thursday said the restrictions were in place to “prevent the virus spreading from the capital to other parts of China.”

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